Day Six High and Wild Adventure

BY KELSEY SIMPSON

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As the week is coming to a close it is hard to remember everything that went on here on the High & Wild Adventure. From the moment we stepped foot on the ground at the lodge we have continually been picking up facets of information throughout our day. It didn’t matter if we were in the corral, working with horses, or eating breakfast, there was always more information to absorb.

Today a handful of us went on a longer trail ride with Glenn through another mountain range even making it to the top of one. With a long ride and steep hills to climb on foot it presented quite the challenge. But we finally made it to the top of the ridge just in time for lunch. We tied our horses near an old dilapidated corral and settled in to enjoy our packed lunches.

After lunch we continued to head along the top of the ridge. The sun was hot with little breeze but we felt relief when we wandered down the mountain through the shady moss covered forest.

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Climbing over and under felled trees and avoiding hole, it was a wonder there were so many game trails and horse trails. We eventually made it out of the tree and into a clearing with muskeg and a bunch of windfall trees. Thinking about Glenn’s advice the first day about walking through different vegetation, I carefully tried to leap from clump of moss to clump of moss. Unfortunately some were deceiving large and just sank under my pressure, drenching my shoes and socks and painting them with a coat of black mud.

Eventually we crossed through wet marsh land to get to the other side of the valley to head home. The horses obviously knew that we were headed home and were eager get there.

We saw an incredible amount of elk along with very unique landscapes from minimal trees, to complete forest, to marsh land, and then open pasture. It was truly a beautiful and long ride.

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With the week finishing up and some of us headed home tomorrow, the impact of the trip hit us. Glenn’s goal was to take us on adventures and experiences in a safe and fun way that we would or could never do on our own which he certainly accomplished. If you told everyone what we would do at the beginning of the week, they would say I would never do that or could never. This trip has been an all around expanding of our skills, knowledge and experiences not only in terms of our horsemanship but also in our entire lives. I think we have accomplished more here in a week then most will experience in a lifetime.

Whether we wanted to or not, we all found ourselves outside of our comfort zone doing things we could have never before thought we could do. It instills quite the confidence in you to realize that. Most of us will go home and tell our friends and loved ones about this special place here and the special people, and of course the horses, but it is quite hard to put it all into words. Our High and Wild Adventure here was certainly that but again so much more, more than we could have ever thought. People who were afraid of the horses at the beginning of the week, found themselves getting acquainted and eased around them. They found themselves riding wild horses and along some of the most beautiful and difficult trails of their lives.

Glenn said right off that bat that this wasn’t going to be a dude ranch, this is a holiday learning adventure. You get from it what you put in, this isn’t a fake ride, this was “real life” as one participant said. Every day and every moment leading up to riding helped to prepare the horses and more importantly us without us evening knowing it.

This place, this trip and the people we have met along the way will be an experience we will carry with us forever. The stories and great times will surely be told over and over again, with our friend not quite sure what we are talking about. This week of good times and great people and awesome horses is what High and Wild Adventures is all about and I believe it has lived up to its name.

 

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Find out more about Glenn Stewart at his website and his Facebook page. Also check out his educational video on his Youtube Channel.

Gearing Up for the Trails

Published in the August 2008, edition of the Western Horse Review.

Allan Johnson of Rocky Mountain Outfitting, Springbank, Alberta, offers this checklist of seven essential items to prepare you for the unexpected on a trail ride.

Horse Trail Riding Tips

1. First Aid Kit including such items as bandages, wraps, disinfectant, scissors, etc.

2. A good quality, multi-purpose knife. Look for one with a variety of built-in tools and always keep your blades sharp and in good repair.

3. Maps and GPS are important for mapping out where you are going. Inform someone back home of your planned route and when you expect to be off the trail. If you get lost, don’t take short cuts – stick to the trail.

4. Cell phone, carry one and be mindful of its range. If you plan to trail ride in isolated areas out of cell range, it may be wise to invest in a satellite phone.

5. Matches/Lighter come in handy if you need to start a fire (where permitted).

6. Saddle bags are essential. They will keep your stuff safe, dry and secure. Ensure to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. Your horse will thank you for it!

7. Rain gear: a ¾ length or longer oil skin slicker will keep you and your saddle dry. A waterproof hat also comes in handy.

Amazing Backcountry

SUBMITTED BY BRENDA MURDOCK
Stars Cash Hunt

Alberta entrepreneurs Brenda Murdock and Scott Phillips have stepped out into the international scene with their Global Equine Geocaching website, Amazing Backcountry – a world-wide network of equine enthusiasts who enjoy the fun and adventure of exploring backcountry trails on horseback.

Geocaching is a sport where people search for hidden objects or caches by using coordinates that have been posted on the internet. There are a handful of geocaching websites out there with thousands of users all over the world but, “What separates us from the rest,” says Murdock, “is that Amazing Backcountry specifically caters to the horse enthusiasts.”

Scott and Brenda have designed the website to integrate rider-to- rider interaction, rider profiles through which you share your journeys to each cache through pictures and stories, and a trail database. The rider network revolves around the two core principles of sharing information, and connecting with other riders on the trail.

Of great interest to users, the trail database is an extensive collection of worldwide equestrian trail specifications. This includes locations, staging and camping areas. The database also features a rider updated photo library, interesting facts, and information on the history or geology of areas all over the world.  If you’re going on a holiday, you can easily go on the site and see what caches are in that area and what kinds of trails are available with the push of a button.

Phillips shares, “Our goal is to bring all riders together so that we can share our knowledge and passion of the trails we love to ride. This is also a great way to network with riders in other areas, and even other countries!”

The world has so many incredible places to explore on horseback. There are people that regularly ride favorite trails, and those that are always yearning to explore new territory. Amazing Backcountry caters to everyone. There are no age restrictions, skill requirements, or preference toward any discipline.  Ride where and when you want to.  As an Amazing Backcountry Rider, armed with your Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and trail information, your goal is to use your ingenuity to locate hidden caches, or hide one yourself for others to find.

There are also fundraising opportunities available to registered Not-For-Profit (NFP) organizations through Amazing Backcountry.  NFP’s can use groups of caches to support a fundraising effort. Amazing Backcountry Riders who are part of your fundraiser find sponsors to donate to your organization in a competition to see who can raise the most.  2012 saw Amazing Backcountry participants raise $19,300 for STARS!

The Amazing Backcountry Race for STARS fundraiser will be taking place again this summer, running from late June to early September. “What makes it even more fun this year is that participants can hide their own caches for it” says Brenda.

Head over to the website and check it out at www.amazingbackcountry.net.